Here is a really nice TIP / TRICK for your Particle use.
This is in my book, but I will share it with you all here:
If you need to BROWSE and SEE your particles (perhaps you are trying to find a particle that you are considering using for a project or effect,) THEN you should be sure to DOWNLOAD and INSTALL the "ShowIEL" program.
"ShowIEL" (available for FREE at the Wondertouch website) is the free particleIllusion "Emitter Viewer" for the library and can be used OUTSIDE OF COMBUSTION to preview/play out the emitters from any Particle Illusion Emitter Library in an interactive OpenGL window on your desktop. This is all done outside of the Combustion software, so it can be very handy.
It requires you to have at least one IEL library on your system to playout. It is available for either MAC or PC. For Windows: ShowIEL v1.1.0 for Windows (includes a sampler library) (575 KB Zip) Instructions: Just unzip the program (and IELs if you downloaded them) into a folder and run ShowIEL.exe. Press F1 or H for a list of the other keys and functions.
For MAC: ShowIEL v1.0.2 for Mac OS 8/9 and OS X (includes an updated sampler library) (845 KB Sit) Instructions: Just un-Stuff the program, run ShowIEL, and load the "mac_sampler.iel" file.
Now, about those Particles..........
go to the SOURCE...
You can DOWNLOAD MORE FREE Particle Effects !!!!!!!!!
It is the Particle Illusion software that is integrated with Discreet Combustion Version 2.0 (both Mac and PC.) Combustion v2 User can download additional FREE Particle Libraries for use in their systems from the Wondertouch Particle Library collections.
Note that the relevant Particle Libraries should be dated AFTER January 2002, since most of the libraries BEFORE that date are already included with the release of Combustion v2. This includes effects such as Abstract, Explosions, Natural, etc. The Libraries are all free and User Submitted. They, collectively, are generally very nice, but, unfortunately, they are totally un-organized. However, if you search, you can find some cool new pre-created unique effects since Combustion V2's release.
To install new particle libraries: first download he library and save to a local drive.
Next, open Combustion, open particles, and simply use the "Load Library" button.
Or, you can drop the Illusion library file into the "Particle Libraries" folder in combustion's program folder and then restart combustion. The new library will be converted and it'll become another entry in the Library popup list.
Particle Illusion uses OpenGL, so you'll time most of your renders in frames per second instead of seconds (or minutes) per frame. Of course the number of effects that you use, and the parameters of those effects have an impact on performance.
That's your tip of the day...